Yesterday I wandered among the counters of “Benvenuto Brunello”, an event known to most people and awaited every year by everyone to finally taste the new vintage of Brunello di Montalcino, this year class 2015.
The credit for such great success goes all to its protagonist obviously, Sangiovese, which in these areas, in Montalcino, changes its name to Brunello.
The D.O.C.G Appellation is established in the 90s and Brunello is subject to strict rules of production, strongly desired by the Consortium to protect the greatest treasure of this territory and make it unrepeatable and inimitable in the world. Brunello, to be classified as such, must be produced only the municipality of Montalcino, and aged in oak wood for at least two years, bottled only in Bordeaux-shaped bottles, and placed on the market only 5 years after harvesting (6 years for Riserva).
Among the cloisters of the complex of Sant’Agostino, where the fair took place, I tried my benchmark labels first. All confirmed, except one.
I can no longer understand the signature, it seemed different, I am not saying it is not good, just different.
I left that tasting counter with the thought that nothing in life stays the same, and then continued my rounds.
At the end of the day as I left the fair, I wandered around the narrow streets of this small town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with that strange aura of question that had pervaded me for the whole day and got lost in my thoughts.
The thirst you know, for us wine-lovers, is never quenched, therefore I decide to stop and refresh myself in one of the best wine shops in Montalcino, a mesmerizing wine world: three entire lanes of Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino, Tuscany at its purest state. A fixed stop before crossing the streets to the historic center of Montalcino, as well as on the way out, you cannot miss Bruno Dalmazio’s wine shop.
There was a man there getting ready for a tasting of his wines. I grabbed a glass and joined the party, and as I twirl the wine at some point the fragrance of the bouquet hit me and did remind me somehow of the one signature I could not find at the fairy.
But how could it be? This is “Azienda Agricola Gorelli”, and I have never heard of it! But I swear I do know this signature! The mystery is solved when I learned that Giuseppe Gorelli was at one time that signature I know so well. He was, in fact, Mr. “Le Potazzine” a winery in Montalcino that has always left a mark in my heart.
For personal reasons he decided to be “just” Mr. “Gorelli” and started his homonymous winery.
With a training at the Agricultural Technical Institute and a degree in Oenology in Siena, Giuseppe has been the technical consultant of the Consorzio di Brunello di Montalcino for years, as well as oenologist of many wineries in the surrounding area, all while managing the family wineries “Due Portine” first and then “Le Potazzine”.
After these experiences he continued and still continues his work as a consultant for many wineries in Montalcino and the surrounding area.
But the desire to make wine flowed in his veins, his own wine, and not only that of others. And when it began to pulsate stronger than his own heart, he decided to rent some vineyards in the north-west area of the hill most suited to Sangiovese and thus gave life and form to his passion.
It is 2017 and at 350 meters above sea level, when Giuseppe Gorelli begins to grow his vines, 4 hectares of spurred cordon, 20 to 40 years old.
That’s why he was “out of the race” at Benvenuto Brunello. We will have to wait until 2021 to taste his first vintage of Brunello di Montalcino, as prescribed by appellations’ rules.
His Rosso di Montalcino 2018 must suffice then, and I must say it does have the guise of a Brunello already; in my opinion it would trick many at a blind tasting.
The olfactory impact carries an incredible finesse and elegance of fragrances that already have a touch of austerity. And if the sense of smell could somehow take on the features of touch, I would say that the bouquet has the consistency of velvet, and then twirling the glass some more, the smooth caress of silk.
As young as it is, I already smell notes of incense and orange peel and autumn damp undergrowth. Combined in a clear-cut and sharp bouquet that makes every sensation more and more pleasant.
The sip is lively and taut, with good freshness but not lacking in that softness that fills the palate and envelopes it in every ravine.
We leave Giuseppe at last, with the promise to meet him the next morning and have “breakfast for champions” with some tastings directly in his cellar.
Giuseppe is already there to welcome us. Early in the morning
Organic farming, very little interventionist, except for pruning in the vineyard, and in the cellar no use of selected yeasts. the fermentation is spontaneous in steel vatsd with no temperatures control with continuous “pumping over” or “punching down” the cap, and then rest in oak barrels of 225 hl. No filtration before bottling
Enough with the technicalities now, time to get down to the cellar and have a tasting from barrels of what will become Brunello di Montalcino in a few years’ time.
The Sangiovese used for Brunello comes from old “le Crete vecchie” vineyards with south-east exposure, while the grapes for Rosso are harvested in the “Crete nuove” vineyards with north-west exposure.
The wine making procedure is the same however, with the obvious exception of the aging times, which are longer for Brunello.
In front of our eyes three large wooden barrels: two of Slavonian oak and one of French oak. Giuseppe explains the impact of each on the final blend; Slavonia will grant complexity and structure while French oak elegance and finesse to create perfect harmony.
We have had small samples From each barrel, all of which confirm that it is already a great Brunello di Montalcino: the power and vigor in the sip are in fact already vivid and impressive and it can only become spectacular in a few years.
The finish is long with persistent and pleasant tannic balance and a freshness of taste that calls for another sip.
If anticipation increases the desire we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of 2021 to fully taste Giuseppe Gorelli’s Brunello, but in the meantime a couple of bottles of his Rosso di Montalcino will help us with the wait.
I had arrived in Montalcino to try the new Brunello 2015, and today I return home with the desire to return next year and I can tell you already know what my first tasting counter will be.
It takes a lot of guts in life to do great things, and there is no age or previous experience that can ever stop the desire for new endeavors. It is only passion that moves love and the other stars …oops I mean wine and the other stars.
Best of luck Giuseppe!